EBBW Vale have bolstered their squad with four new players ahead of the start of the Indigo Premiership season.

The Steelmen kick off the campaign with a derby against Newport – now their only Gwent rivals in the top flight – at Eugene Cross Park on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm).

Head coach Greg Woods has added to his options ahead of the visit of the Black and Ambers by signing flanker Harry Harding, hooker Mikhail Blake, tighthead Ellis Evans and full-back Craig Duncan.

Harding, 23, arrives from Pill Harriers after coming through the Dragons academy based at Newport High School.

Blake has signed from Cwmbran while Evans joins from Brynmawr after getting some experience with Bedwas last season, making eight appearances for the Bridge Field side in the first half of the campaign.

Duncan, a Royal Marine and from RTB Ebbw Vale, returns to the Steelmen to add depth at full-back, although he misses the first month of the season while taking part in a forces tournament in Japan.

The Steelmen have also learnt their Dragons allocation with the talent spread between them and Newport rather than between five clubs after the relegation of Cross Keys, Bedwas and Bargoed.

There are five seniors who could be sent for game time – wings Jared Rosser and Dafydd Howells, centre Jack Dixon, fly-half Josh Lewis and back row forward Harri Keddie – while the young talent will be available to Woods after the Celtic Cup campaign.

Both teams head into this weekend’s opener on the back of unbeaten pre-season schedules with the home side having beaten Blaenavon, Brixham and Bury St Edmunds while Newport won away at Pontypridd and Dings Crusaders either side of their draw at Cinderford.

Dragons academy allocation: Rio Dyer, Euan Rosser, Joe Goodchild, Carwyn Penny, Jake Morgan, Deon Smith, Aneurin Owen, Dan Babos, Will Griffiths, Chris Coleman, Max Ayling, Max Williams, Ben Fry.

Under-18s (from January): Ben Moa, Joe Peard, Benji Hoppe, Carrick McDonaugh, Johnny Painter.

Seniors: Dafydd Howells, Jack Dixon, Jared Rosser, Harri Keddie, Josh Lewis